Being on the constant lookout for improving things at work, I proposed a change the other day to the way we did the slide deck for our bi-weekly product demo. The response I immediately got from a couple of team members was “But we’ve always done it this way.” This disappointed me because it’s such an easy excuse to provide in order to not look for improvements to the process or culture. There was on critique on the point I had raised in any way until another senior member of the team raised a valid concern about the hassles involved if we decided to change it. I was quite satisfied with that response. However, I was still upset about inertia creeping into the team and making them complacent. There are going to be times when you have to revisit things you’d have done from the past, and make sure they still work in the current setting, or if there’s a way to tweak them slightly to make them better.
This isn’t to say we should always be disruptive and break things that are working in ways that are detrimental to the team, culture, users etc. There has to be a safety net that consists of lessons from the past on what has worked, what didn’t, have we learned from it, are we now ready to try something that didn’t work previously etc.